This summer’s Alaska Regional Elite Group (REG) camp, held in Anchorage, proved to be a challenging and valuable week of training for all involved. Just like the Eastern, Central, and Western REG camps held earlier, the Alaska camp included a variety of distance, strength, technique, and intensity workouts as well as two time trials.
“I think the main objective and goal of the week was to give the REG athletes an opportunity to bang heads with each other and some of the top senior level athletes in the region,” said coach Pete Leonard in an email to FasterSkier.
Video taken of nearly every rollerski session was reviewed every evening, affording athletes a chance to perfect their technique with top coaches including the US Ski Team’s Chris Grover.
Thursday morning heralded an event not seen at any of the other REG camps: a sprint time trial on skate rollerskis, followed by speed work. On Friday morning, athletes competed in a classic rollerski time trial where they were joined by several elite athletes including Olympian and Alaska native Kikkan Randall.
“I think having senior athletes at the time trial is good because it allows the junior to know where they stack up in the grander scheme of things,” Leonard remarked. “Nothing worse for an athlete than getting complacent.”
Randall was around earlier in the week as well, as she worked with the women on double-pole technique during Thursday’s easy distance rollerski. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group of 15 junior females all as attentive and ready to soak up every detail,” said Leonard of the technique session.
The camp ended with a mixed OD on Saturday morning, the toughest part of the week for many participants. The last and hottest workout of the week began with a steep and slippery uphill run and continued with a long classic rollerski which included the grueling classic time trial climb.
Many of the athletes also jumped in to the Cuddy Roller Ski Race on Sunday morning. An optional workout that was not officially part of the camp, the 2x3x700 meter relay sprint was a fun conclusion to a demanding week.
Maddy is on the Nordic ski team at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where her majors are psychology, political science, skiing, and being an awesome JA.